A student at Indian Peaks Elementary School in the St. Vrain School District works on a STEM project.

(Courtesy of Nic Garcia)

Educators and business leaders have long promoted STEM curriculum, which focuses on science, technology, engineering and math, as key to preparing students for the best jobs in the economy. 

But a new study by Chalkbeat Colorado, an online education news service, finds most Colorado students don't have access to the curriculum. For the series "STEM in Colorado," Chalkbeat surveyed 30 of the state's largest school districts, which together serve 80 percent of Colorado students. The survey found only two in seven students have access to STEM programs and that there are few ways to track the programs' success.

The series did find, though, that at-risk students appear to be getting equal access to the curriculum. More than half the schools offering STEM reported students of color and from lower socio-economic benefits took part in the programs at the same or a higher percentage than other students.

Nic Garcia, deputy bureau chief for Chalkbeat Colorado, spoke with Ryan Warner.